Last Thursday’s Episode 8 of Star Trek: Discovery’s third season was unique in several ways. Titled “Unification III”, it was meant to be both a spiritual sequel to the two-part Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Unification I and II,” and a fitting tribute to Star Trek’s most beloved character, Mr. Spock. In fact, the late great Leonard Nimoy even appears in archival footage. The episode even resolves a long-standing Trek storyline about two of the franchise’s most famous alien races: the Vulcans and the Romulans.
Here’s how “Unification III” pays off a nearly thirty-year-old plotline and advances Spock to a deserved exalted status within the actual Star Trek canon.
As we learned in the first season of Star Trek: Picard, 12 years after the destruction of Romulus, the surviving Romulans became a diaspora. Jean-Luc Picard tried to help the survivors, but the Romulan culture was dealt a lethal blow. The once mighty Romulan Empire had to rely on the charity of others to survive. It was a hard pill to swallow for this once-proud warrior species. Meanwhile, the Tal Shiar, a super secretive Romulan Intelligence Agency, continued to undermine any efforts for the Romulans to join peacefully with former enemies.
But despite the Romulan plight in the late 24th century, Discovery shows that Spock’s dream of a Vulcan and Romulan reunification does eventually occur. Although it does take some eight centuries. As Admiral Vance explains, it was Spock who started the process of reunifying them. It took centuries after his death, but Spock’s dream comes true. The Vulcans and Romulans occupy the same world. The planet Vulcan receives a new name: Ni’Var.
Clearly though, it’s far from smooth sailing for Ni’Var. The Vulcans and Romulans may live on a shared homeworld, but they still have major differences. But you can already tell by “Unification III” that Romulans are more logical than they were before, and Vulcans are more emotional. The lines have begun to blur. In fact, the symbol of the Ni’Var seems to be a combination of the Vulcan IDIC symbol and the Romulan emblem of a menacing warbird. Spock is now a revered figure in the galaxy for achieving this goal. It’s a status befitting a character of Spock’s stature in Star Trek canon.